For the past week in Ferguson, reporters have been using the McDonald’s a few blocks from the scene of Michael Brown’s shooting as a staging area. Demonstrations have blown up each night nearby. But inside there’s WiFi and outlets, so it’s common for reporters to gather there.

That was the case Wednesday. My phone was just about to die, so as I charged it, I used the time to respond to people on Twitter and do a little bit of a Q&A since I wasn’t out there covering the protests.


As I sat there, many armed officers came in — some who were dressed as normal officers, others who were dressed with more gear.

Initially, both Ryan Reilly of the Huffington Post and I were asked for identification. I was wearing my lanyard, but Ryan asked why he had to show his ID. They didn’t press the point, but one added that if we called 911, no one would answer.

Then they walked away. Moments later, the police reemerged, telling us that we had to leave. I pulled my phone out and began recording video.

An officer with a large weapon came up to me and said, “Stop recording.”

I said, “Officer, do I not have the right to record you?”

He backed off but told me to hurry up. So I gathered my notebook and pens with one hand while recording him with the other hand.

As I exited, I saw Ryan to my left, having a similar argument with two officers. I recorded him, too, and that angered the officer. As I made my way toward the door, the officers gave me conflicting information.

One instructed me to exit to my left. As I turned left, another officer emerged, blocking my path.

“Go another way,” he said.

As I turned, my backpack, which was slung over one shoulder, began to slip. I said, “Officers, let me just gather my bag.” As I did, one of them said, “Okay, let’s take him.”

Multiple officers grabbed me. I tried to turn my back to them to assist them in arresting me. I dropped the things from my hands.

“My hands are behind my back,” I said. “I’m not resisting. I’m not resisting.” At which point one officer said: “You’re resisting. Stop resisting.”

That was when I was most afraid — more afraid than of the tear gas and rubber bullets.

Continue reading…

Perhaps Ferguson, Missouri will live in infamy for being the worst example of how the police should work.  Talk about heavy handed.  The eyes of America are on Ferguson.  The town needs to put its best foot forward, not show the world its butt.

Reporters working in a local McDonalds is hardly subversive.  It’s done all the time.  They are who decides who is trespassing except in situations of extreme emergency.  Telling reporters to get out of McDonalds is sort of only one step better than tear gassing people in their own back yard because they won’t leave.  That also allegedly happened in Ferguson.

Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post  and Ryan Reilly, reporter for the Huffington Post both found out the hard way that justice in Ferguson is not always distributed even-handedly.

Perhaps the most classic example of this police heavy-handedness  is:

“I hope you’re happy with yourself,” one officer told me. And I responded: “This story’s going to get out there. It’s going to be on the front page of The Washington Post tomorrow.”

And he said, “Yeah, well, you’re going to be in my jail cell tonight.”

I expect that Ferguson, Missouri is eventually going to be so swamped in litigation it won’t know what end is up.   Is this really what happens in Anytown, USA or is Ferguson just the worst of the worst?

The reporters were eventually released.  No charges.  No arrest report.  No officers names given.   Shades of Mississippi circa 1963.  Shades of Little Rock.  Shades of Anytown, USA where most of us would rather not live.




44 Thoughts to “Ferguson, Mo: Trespassing at McDonalds?”

  1. Starry flights

    This was an assault upon the constitution. wtf is going on down there? These scenes look like Gaza or Iraq, not middle America.

    1. Dunno. not much good from what I can tell. Cops out of control. Citizens looting. Outsiders causing even more trouble.

  2. Mom

    Its because we brought Ebola across the pond, its the first stage of the Zombie Apocalypse. Time to lay the concertina wire and claymores around the house. Send me an e-mail and I’ll give you the secret password to come over and share my stockpile of single malt when the rest of the world runs out.

    1. You know I will be there.

  3. Censored bybvbl


    If you had a supply of good chocolate stout – or even chocolate – I’d say you’d need that concertina wire.

  4. There is information we probably will never know the truth about. Stolen cigars, walking in the streets, facial injuries.

    I think we have to remove the word “innocent” from in front of Michael Brown’s name.

    The looters need to be run out of town or held in jail. Enough is enough, Ferguson.

  5. Rick Bentley

    The police say that he was shot while trying to get the officer’s gun, in the car.

    Two witnesses say he was trying to get away, outside the car.

    Somebody’s lying here, to a criminal level.

    Meanwhile agitators are throwing molotav cocktails, and an air of political correctness tries to blame the looting on people’s feelings and the police not being nice enough …

    S***ty situation, and again i say the President failed to lead.

    1. I dont think any president could lead this situation.

      The looting and thuggery needs to stop. Period.

  6. Rick Bentley

    I feel pretty confident that we know what happened in the Treyvon Martin shooting – Martin jumped on top of Zimmerman and was pummeling him, and was shot in self-defense – because a witness came forward who had no stake in the matter and who saw the incident clearly. I hope that we have that here.

  7. Rick Bentley

    This seems to be that witness – http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/st-louis-official-reporters-arrested-ferguson-michael-brown

    So in a perfect world the cop goes to jail for this, something on the order of 10 years. And we all get on with our lives. And CNN sits and waits for another racial animus incident, or maybe another missing plane, to prop ratings up with.

    Unfortunately we’re not in that perfect world.

    1. The Ferguson cops have been less than competent. Same with the Trevon Martin case. The handling of the cases is what stirred the ire of a nation.

  8. Rick Bentley

    I disagree with you about the Treyvon Martin case. i think you’re slandering the police in that one. They investigated thoroughly enough and determined that Zimmerman would probably be found innocent with cause; they were right.

    1. Why did Treyvon Martin lie in a morgue for 3 days without any attempt to find his parents? His cell phone was on him. It would have been easy.

      I think they lucked out as far as charges. I think Zimmerman asked for it. He was stalking the kid by all accounts. I was not necessarily dissatisfied with the verdict but I think everything that led up to it was sloppy. Would the nation been in such an uproar if it had been handled differently?

      Furthermore, even though Zimmerman beat a murder rap, he still showed up looking like one of the biggest Aholes known to man, and continues to do so.

  9. Starryflights

    For the life of me, I will never understand how conservatives think of the punk Zimmerman as a hero.

    1. Me either. He has proven to just be a jackass, over and over again.

  10. Emma

    Funny, I’ve never met anyone of any political stripe who characterizes Zimmerman as a “hero.” You must travel in odd circles, Starry.

    1. I have heard a few people speak as though he stood up for white male rights. At best, the victim and at worst, some sort of comic hero.

  11. Rick Bentley

    Perhaps one or two guys tweeted that he was a hero – or maybe it happened in some youtube comments. Which probably triggered a two-hour panel discussion on CNN about racial sensitivity issues in America.

  12. Elena

    Why isn’t it self defense when some creep is following you? Why isn’t it self defense if said creep is packing and you are afraid for YOUR life? Why wasn’t Martin acting in self defense?

    Why is it capitol punishment to sell illegal cigarettes?

    Not sure WHAT happened in this case, but clearly there has been festering race relation issues in this town for some time. Who was the idiot that released the video of Michael Brown that had NOTHING to do with why he was shot? The police officer did not even KNOW he had been involved in that incident. Is it possible that he fought the officer, absolutely, we don’t know any details of the WHY he was shot. How long does that take? If it was so clear cut, why HAS it not been released? I don’t know, but I do know that too many young black men and teenagers die from violence and this country hasn’t figured out how to deal with this problem.

    1. Those are important questions and sadly the behavior shown day after day in Ferguson is detracting from those questions and causing the focus to be on thuggery. The rest of American is getting turned off. Once again, a few thugs with too much time on their hands seem to rule the day.

      Looting and rioting is no way to settle important problems.

  13. Rick Bentley

    Elena, if you’re on top of someone banging their head into concrete, it’s not self-defense. particularly if all they were doing is following you and trying to get you to wait for police or tell them what you are doing. you can certainly say “F you” and walk away – but getting on top and banging their head into concrete is not self-defense.

    As to the fact that Zimmerman was “packing”, obviously Martin didn’t know that.

  14. Rick Bentley

    I grew up about an hour away from Ferguson. The whole east Saint Louis area was considered to be a cesspool that anyone with sense should stay away from; that’s what it looks like to me now on the news. I’ll tell you what I think …

    On the shooting, I’m sure the officer is guilty of something – I could even say well maybe the kid was walking towards him menacingly when he shot him, but the officer was by all accounts shooting at Brown while he (the officer) was in the car and Brown was running away unarmed – there’s no protocol that could justify that. Yes, the local police want to cover this up.

    On Michael Brown, the kid had a death wish and it’s no surprise that he’s dead. You’re walking in the middle of the street, having just robbed a store, and a police officer tells you to get out of the road. instead of getting out of the road, you go over and mess with him? This kid was out of control and not long for this world. Frankly the problem with the world IS Michael Brown more than it’s the officer who shot him, in all likelihood.

    On the looting, it’s just an accelerated version of what’s been happening in the East St. Louis area for decades, Inarticulate black rage leading to nihilistic behavior, leading to a ghetto that no one should have to live in. There’s no quick solution to this.

  15. Rick Bentley

    Meanwhile I really feel that the President is MIA on this, which is unconscionable to me. He seems to have given up thinking that he can make any real difference in the world.

  16. Elena

    And you know his weapon was concealed how??????

  17. Rick Bentley

    Because Martin was on top of him beating on him. Presumably he wouldn’t have done that had he known Zimmerman had a gun.

    1. Maybe, maybe not. It was dark. Maybe he wanted to keep him from drawing his weapon. We will never know. Zimmerman is a lair and eyewitnesses are the worst as far as reliability goes.

      What difference does it make anyway? Zimmerman was, is and forever will be a toad. He wanted to play cop because he couldn’t make the grade with Charlie Deane.

  18. Cargosquid

    We know that it was concealed because it is illegal to open carry in Florida. The cops did not arrest him for open carry. He had a crappy inside the waistband holster. I have the identical holster. I don’t use it anymore. I used it to simulate what Zimmerman described he was doing. The holster moved from the back of my right hip to the side of the hip, where it becomes visible.

    But regardless of whether is was concealed or not, the fact remains that Martin was committing felony assault and battery after returning to Zimmerman’s location. The evidence provided by the prosecution showed that Zimmerman lost contact with Martin even before leaving the truck. Martin was gone.
    Then he returned from “in back of his father’s place” as per the testimony of Rachel Jeantel, which was 400 feet from Zimmerman’s location.

    If you wish to keep someone from shooting you, you don’t beat them. You grapple them to control the arms. OR…as Martin could have done……simply gone home…..or called the police instead of his girlfriend.

  19. Elena

    concealed how well? Pa-Leeze. This guy has been in more trouble since he got off for killing that kid than I EVER would have imagined. Martin TRIED to go home, it was ZIMMERMAN who got out of his vehicle AGAINST the advice of police. Period.

    1. Elena, I agree. I don’t know if Zimmerman was legally responsible. I mean who knows about Florida law. But Zimmerman was such a toad. He was told to stay in his vehicle and he got out in hot pursuit. His bad judgement nearly cost him his life.

      No one has ever said that as a kid they wouldn’t have done what Martin did. Some dude is stalking you….jump them seems pretty normal to me. Young people have a lot of bravodo, often not based on what their mothers would have them do. All the people who have come down on the Zimmerman side seem to assess what they would do as a 40 year old, rather than looking at things as a 16 year old.

  20. Cargosquid

    Yes….. Per the prosecution’s evidence.

    Z was on the phone to the cops, when he saw Martin run. Z got out of his truck and was told that the cops did not need him to follow Martin. Z then STOPPED and talked to the cops for 2-3 minutes. He was NOT told to stay in his vehicle. He was told that the cops didn’t need him to follow Martin. Meanwhile, Martin was gone. Z told the cops on the phone that he no longer saw Martin.
    Rachel Jeantel testified that Martin told her that he was “in back of his father’s girlfriend’s place.” That place is 400 feet away. He could have entered his house. If he felt threatened, he could have dialed 911. But, instead, he talked to his friend about the “cracker” that was following him.

    Said cracker had stopped following. Martin returned to Zimmerman’s location and was found beating his head into the cement by a witness.

    As for the concealment…the only time that Martin would have seen even an open carry would be when he jumped Zimmerman. Because, by the time Zimmerman got out of his truck, Martin was long gone. Concealment in this case is irrelevant. Zimmerman pulled his weapon only after being knocked onto his back and was being beaten.

    1. And prosecutors are always right…always. So is their evidence.


      Again, I guess two dead black kids makes for the same case?

  21. Rick Bentley

    We know what happened in that case. No witnesses contradicted each other, and their stories all added up. Courtesy of Rachel Janteal (sic?), we even know what they said to each other when the first came face-to-face.

    Martin was walking home from a convenience store, in light rain. He was talking on the phone to his friend.

    Zimmerman saw the kid and thought it was suspicious that the kid was lingering in the rain. he perceived this as casing houses. Sadly, as an older guy (older than Martin, anyway) it didn’t occur to him that the kid was lingering in the rain because he was talking on the phone, probably about stuff he preferred to talk about outside his dad’s place.

    Zimmerman called police and followed/stalked the kid. Martin became spooked and tried to evade. At some point he circled back and confronted Zimmerman. He had some training fighting. He could have made it home; he could have called police on his phone. he decided to double back on him and confront Zimmerman, by himself.

    We don’t know what they said to each other at that point – Zimmerman’s testimony is not believable – but we can probably assume that Zimmerman made no attempt to physically subdue Martin, or to use his gun to compell him to stay, as those are prosecutable offenses. Almost surely, Martin was the aggressor.

    He ended up on top of Zimmerman, Zimmerman’s crying for help, the kid’s using MMA moves on him and slamming his head on concrete with one degree of force or another. Zimmerman shoots him, which if i were in his position at that point I would have also.

    1. Hopefully, you would have been smart enough to have not tried to provoke Martin, unlike Zimmerman.

      If Zimmerman had just left things alone….or observed from a distance, none of this would have happened. It was entirely avoidable.

  22. Rick Bentley

    Zimmerman’s not a hero, and we can all see that he’s a bit looney. But the evidence adds up and we do know what most likely happened on that night.

  23. Rick Bentley

    I don’t agree that Zimmerman provoked him (as far as we know).

    1. Following a kid who is minding his own business is provoking, in my opinion. What do you tell your own kids to do if a stranger approaches them?

      The problem is, we really don’t know what all happened.

  24. Cargosquid

    Zimmerman DID observe from a distance. And then stopped “observing” because Martin left the area. THAT’S the point.

    Martin approached him. Martin assaulted Zimmerman.

    1. That really hasn’t been proven. Zimmerman didn’t stay in his car as directed. By not doing os, he provoked the situation.

      You are going to defend that toad Zimmerman with your last breath, aren’t you?

      Zimmerman should have minded his own business. None of it would have happened.

  25. Cargosquid

    He was already out of his car when the cops told him that they did not “need him to follow.” He stopped.

    He cannot have “provoked” anyone since THERE WAS NO ONE AROUND HIM.

    I’m defending the FACTS of the case…not Zimmerman.

    If Martin had not attacked him, none of this would have happened either.

    1. He did pretty much what parents and crime experts tell their kids to do if approached by a stranger. You don’t know how close the approach got. None of us do.

      Yes, the dispatcher told him to stay in his car. He didn’t have to do what he or she said.

      Not sure that the prosecutors line is any more right than the defense’s. Nothing was really proven to me.

  26. Cargosquid

    And it was proven that Martin was assaulting Zimmerman. By the prosecution. Not the defense. He was seen beating Zimmernan into the ground. The forensics support that.

    1. Zimmerman didn’t learn anything from that smack down apparently. I think he got what he deserved. Treyvon Martin didn’t get what he deserved.

      Zimmerman should have never messed with him. Martin did two things wrong. He was black and he was young.

  27. Rick Bentley

    OMG. You think jumping a guy because he was following you and knocking his head onto concrete is “nothing wrong”?

    1. If a strange guy was following me and I was 40 years younger…. yea. nothing wrong. Why would a strange guy be following me?
      Live a day as a female then report back to me.

Comments are closed.